If you were in the Central Library this past Monday afternoon, you might have been wondering why there were packs of young, panting students running up and down the library. No, they were not participants in a local episode of The Amazing Race. In fact, they were some of the 200 FASS freshmen attending their Arts Club Orientation Camp.
Central Library was one of the stations in their campus tour segment and we were given 15 minutes with each group of students. We were of course looking forward to meeting these new students and having the chance to interact with them more closely. Despite the limited contact time, we devised a short game that was a library version of Treasure Hunt. After a brief presentation by a librarian, students had to decode a list of book and journal references, identify the item locations by searching LINC, and quickly bring these items back within 6 minutes.
From the muffled screams, turbo-flapping of flip-flops, steely determination on their faces, and triumphant looks at the end, it was clear that the freshmen enjoyed this segment. It was also heart-warming (and not a little surprising) for us to see students so excited about looking for library resources. Suffice to say that we were duly impressed and pleasantly surprised by the results. All groups did admirably, considering the fact that none of them had previously used LINC or visited the Central Library. The props each group carried as a sign of camaraderie only served to make the experience more amusing to onlookers. Imagine sprinting down two flights of steps in slippers and a cardboard pitchfork strapped to your back!
It was a great three hours that provided us with valuable insights and encouragement. It is indeed possible for us to have fun with our users while teaching them important skills at the same time. We look forward to more of these sessions in the future!
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